Dateline March 2004
Paul Barnes hosts one of the best music programmes on BBC Eastern Counties radio stations. At the end of November he took his cue from the news in our last magazine and informed his listeners that Doris Day was now a member of the Robert Farnon Society. To celebrate, he didn’t play a Doris Day record – instead he chose "Great Day" by the Robert Farnon Orchestra and the George Mitchell Singers!
We are very sorry to have to report the death of our member Robert Rudhall last December, following a long illness. Only a year ago Robert contributed a special tribute to his friend Ron Goodwin in JIM 154 (page 15). Robert first met Ron back in 1995 when he was doing research for his book about the making of the film "Battle of Britain".
Another Tribute to Angela …
I doubt that there are many in the Robert Farnon Society that need convincing that the new Vocalion CD of Angela Morley’s compositions and arrangements is a ‘must buy’. When I wrote the articles on her career a few years ago she sent me a tape of some of the music now contained on the album. I am glad that every lover of true artistry can now share my pleasure in hearing this music as some of the work she wrote for American TV series did not get a showing in the UK. John Wilson and his producers deserve a vote of thanks for enriching the world of music.
Lucky Scots enjoy Light Music
"There’s something blissfully anachronistic about the Queen’s Hall. With its florid cornices and church-like pews, the venue has a certain timeless grandeur which lends itself well to feelings of nostalgia. And after a week of self-congratulation in the Capital in the shape of the MTV awards, the unashamedly backward looking sound of the Edinburgh Light Orchestra was the perfect antidote to contemporary clutter. While easy listening classical music may not exactly be in vogue, the soaring cadences of the glissando strings during the ELO’s opening tune, Journey Into Melody, was enough to uplift the spirits of even the most cynical heart."
Thus wrote Duncan Forgan in his review for the Edinburgh Evening News of James Beyer’s concert last November. No doubt the esteemed critic was impressed by the fact that the hall was filled to capacity (about 800 people), and the enthusiastic applause from the audience perhaps raised a question mark regarding his comment about this kind of music not being in vogue. It seems likely that many more people would welcome the opportunity to attend concerts like this, but few towns and cities have a James Beyer to organize and conduct them!
As usual the programme was well balanced between light music, popular songs and works from the worlds of stage and screen. The closing work was Robert Farnon’s Sounds Familiar which, although written around a quarter of a century ago, still contains many tunes that bring instant recognition.
James Beyer and the Edinburgh Light Orchestra will be back at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh for their next concert on Saturday 29 May – for more details telephone 0131 334 3140.
Ray Clark also writes enthusiastically about the Yesterday’s Britain YB30 spotlighting London buses (reviewed by Glynn D. Parry on page 51). Ray additionally tells us about two Classic Railway Newsreels from British Movietone News which contain many examples of mood music from Chappell, Charles Brull, De Wolfe and Paxton. They cost £12.95 each and are available from: The Signal Box, 1 Albion Street, Anstey, Leicestershire, LE7 7DD – telephone 0116 236 2091.
Must Close Saturday Records
What’s in a name? Often it can be a very important marketing tool, but we wonder how many readers will realise the kind of music that is the speciality of the above new record company! But when you think of it, the name is rather clever, because it conjures up images of countless ambitious little theatrical productions whose appeal to audiences has sometimes fallen short of the aspirations of the talented performers. And that is often the kind of music that Adrian Wright passionately believes deserves to be remembered.
His new company concentrates of British musicals from the 1950s onwards that have been largely forgotten. The major record companies have original cast recordings in their vaults, but it takes a real enthusiast like Adrian to license this material, repackage it attractively, and issue it on CD. So far the label has issued The Crooked Mile, Oh What a Lovely War and Tom Brown’s Schooldays. If you are interested in musical theatre from around 40/50 years ago, keep an eye open for these CDs.Thanks to Peter Worsley for this information.
As we went to press we learned that Tony Bennett had been nominated in two categories for this year’s Grammy Awards in New York. Let’s hope he was successful!
Jack Docherty has drawn our attention to a section about Albert Ketèlbey on his home-town Birmingham Council’s website: www.birmingham.gov.uk/ketelbey
Musicians’ Union Election Success
RFS member Tony Whittaker has just been elected onto the Executive Committee. "I am delighted to have won the election" says Tony, who lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, "and I look forward to representing the Midlands area for the next two years". Members who attend our London meetings will know that Tony is a keen supporter of RFS activities, and we are pleased to congratulate him on winning the confidence of his musical colleagues.
"Inside Antiques" on BBC4 (Friday 23 January) was devoted entirely to the subject of the collectors’ market and interest in railway travel posters, in the context of popular seaside destinations of the 1930s and 1940s. Several pieces of light music were heard in the programme:Coronation Scot was used for the opening titles and also the end credits. At other points we heardRhythm on Rails, Jumping Bean and Will o’ the Wisp. No other light music was used, and it added even more interest to a fascinating programme. Report from Peter Luck